First Student Unveils 'No Bus for Bullies' Program in Montrose
KREX News Room
MONTROSE, Colo.- The Montrose branch of the First Student busing service has teamed up with the schools in Montrose and Olathe to fight bullying.
The "No Bus for Bullies" program is designed to stop bullying, but it also aims to break down any communication barriers that may exist by helping students become more comfortable in reporting those incidents to an adult.
"We all were touched by the monitor that was bullied by the students, but our biggest concern was the students on our buses. We've seen an increase in years past of bullying on our buses," said Carmen Hays, Montrose location manager for First Student.
Hays and her staff at First Student created the "No Bus for Bullies" program with a simple but powerful concept.
"It's for our drivers to get involved with the students and let the students know they have a safe person to go to if they're being bullied on the bus," said Hays.
Reporting bullies is something school officials believe will help stop the issue.
"It's a bit of a taboo issue about bullying," said Mark MacHale, superintendent of the school district. "Whether you're perceived as a bully or a victim and I think kids need to be able to talk about it."
Through "No Bus for Bullies" drivers must stop the bus by safely pulling over if there's an issue, listen and give the students their full attention, respond to and report the situation and follow through by making sure the issue has been resolved. If not, more disciplinary action may be taken by the district.
"Keeping that anti-bullying theme going even when kids leave school and before they come to school, I think it's a good team approach," said MacHale.
Although First Student did have previous anti-bullying protocol, Hays hopes other districts will follow their example by implementing a more detailed procedure.
"If ["No Bus for Bullies"] goes well then it may go nationally and we're hoping it does. We're like the test pilot here so we'll see what happens," said Hays.